BACCHIDES băk’ ə dez (Βακχίδης). Governor of Mesopotamia during the days of and general of the Syrian Army under Demetrius Soter.
Bacchides was a devoted friend and loyal servant of two Syrian rulers. The first was Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiq. XII. x. 2) during whose days he served as governor of Mesopotamia. The second was Demetrius (
As general Bacchides was required to conduct a number of campaigns against Judas and Jonathan Maccabee. Alcimus’ desire to become high priest occasioned the first campaign. The priestly aspirant came to Demetrius representing the apostates of Judea. He won the support of Demetrius with accusations against Judas and his followers. The king sent Bacchides to Judea to establish Alcimus (
The second campaign of Bacchides resulted from the death of Nicanor whom Demetrius had sent to destroy Israel (
Following the death of Judas, Bacchides enlisted the aid of the apostates to kill the followers of Judas. The faithful Jews, however, elected Jonathan as their leader, and after securing garrisons throughout the country Bacchides returned to his king.
After two years the deserters, alarmed at Jonathan’s growing power, once again appealed to Demetrius who responded by sending Bacchides against Jonathan and Simon. The siege proved unsuccessful and, after venting his displeasure over his misfortunes upon the deserters who had sent for him, Bacchides withdrew permanently from Judea providing a basis for a truce. Bacchides’ conquests against Judea, therefore, were a mixture of victories and defeats ultimately surrendering to Maccabean independence.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
bak-i-dez: Bakchides: Bacchides, ruler over Mesopotamia and a faithful friend of bothand Demetrius Soter, established at the request of the latter the rulership over Judea for Aleimus, who, desiring to become high priest, had made false accusations against Judas Maccabee (1 Macc 7:8 ff; Ant, XII, x, 2). Bacchides is sent the second time to Judea after the Syrian general Nicanor was killed near Adasa and Judas Maccabee had gained control of the government (1 Macc 9:1 ff; Ant, XII, x). Bacchides after an unsuccessful battle near Bethbasi was forced to make peace with Jonathan, the brother of Judas Maccabee (1 Macc 9:58 ff; Ant, XIII, i). In 1 Macc 10:12 and 2 Macc 8:30 reference is made to the strongholds Bacchides built during his second campaign against Jerusalem (1 Macc 9:50). Compare ALCIMUS; BETHBASI; JONATHAN; JUDAS MACCABAEUS; ADASA; NICANOR. less importance than some modern scholars have attempted to demonstrate.